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Rain gutters are necessary for most homes because they protect against water damage to the exterior and foundation of the home by directing rainwater away before it has time to settle in and cause damage such as from mold and mildew.
Does that mean everyone needs gutters? Yes, with a few exceptions. This guide explains what makes gutters necessary and explores how you can tailor them to fit your home’s style. We will also cover various exceptions to needing gutters for your home. If you are in the market to add gutters or replace existing ones, you may also want to invest in gutter guards to keep your gutters clear and functioning properly. Through our research, we’ve determined the best gutter guards to help you kickstart the process.
What Do Gutters Do?
Gutters are installed under the edge of your roof to catch rainwater as it streams down your roof’s surface. The gutters then direct water to the edge of your roof and into vertical sectionals called downspouts. Often, downspouts dispense the water into drainage systems or extensions that relocate the water away from your home’s foundation. You can also design an eco-friendly gutter system that channels the water into tanks for gardening during dry seasons.
Are Gutters Necessary?
The short answer is yes. Though gutters aren’t required by legislation, they are necessary for most homeowners to prevent damage to their homes. Read about some of the key reasons gutters are necessary below.
- Basements: You’ll want gutters if you have a basement, especially a finished one. Without gutters, water can enter your home and cause basement flooding. A simple gutter installation helps protect any valuables you have in your basement. The same issue can occur with crawl spaces.
- Overhang: If your roof’s overhang is close to your home’s siding, rainfall will cause trenches to form around your home’s foundation. These trenches can lead to severe and costly damage that gutters would otherwise prevent.
- Clay-rich soil: Clay-rich soil, like red clay soil or clay loam soils, absorbs and retains water when wet. The soil can then direct this water toward your home’s foundation, acting as a pipeline that continuously delivers water to the same spot. Having gutters avoids these issues by directing the water into a drainage system.
Are Gutters Ever Not Necessary?
Though gutters are typically highly encouraged, there are some circumstances in which they’re not necessary. Read some of these instances below.
- Concrete: If your home is surrounded by sidewalks, driveways, patios, streets, or other concrete structures, it already has protection from cumulative rainwater.
- Downward slopes: Being situated on top of a hill means your home will have natural water runoff that can do the work of gutters for you. Just make sure that your landscaping has a lot of downward slopes that point away from your home.
- Large Overhang: A large roof overhang between 6 to 10 inches may also mean you don’t need gutters—so long as your home meets other criteria, such as having downward slopes.
- Weather patterns: If your home is in a drier climate that receives little rain, you’re less likely to need gutters.
How Can I Improve My Gutters?
Gutters may not be the most exciting thing to install or upgrade, but you can still use them to add character and elegance to your home. Below are some ways to maximize your gutter system for style.
- Type: There are various types of gutters that each add flair to your home. Half-round gutters look great on more historic homes, while box gutters provide an industrial look. For a seamless, modern aesthetic, you can explore custom fascia gutters.
- Material: The material your gutters are made of can make your home appear more luxurious. For example, copper gutters add a striking accent to your home’s exterior, while wood gutters provide an element of historic charm and warmth.
Not only can gutters add character to your home, but they also provide a ton of security and protection. While they may not be absolutely necessary for everyone, they are generally recommended. We suggest looking into gutter installation to ensure you make the right choice for your home.
We also recommend that you consider gutter guards. These improve your gutter system‘s efficiency, reliability, and longevity by preventing clogged gutters. They also reduce the frequency of gutter cleaning.
We’ve listed our top recommendations for gutter guard providers below.
- Material: Steel micro-mesh
- Warranty Length: Transferable lifetime
- Get a Quick Quote: Visit LeafFilter site
What We Like: LeafFilter provides a three-piece, micro-mesh gutter guard system. Micro-mesh gutter guards are the most efficient guards because they catch ultra-fine debris like pine needles, pollen and shingle grit. LeafFilter also aligns its gutter guards to blend seamlessly with your roof and offers various gutter colors to match your home’s appearance.
Read more: LeafFilter Review
- Material: Steel micro-mesh
- Warranty Length: Transferable lifetime
- Get a Quick Quote: Visit HomeCraft site
What We Like: HomeCraft Gutter Protection offers another high-quality micro-mesh gutter guard. The company’s marine-grade, stainless steel micro-mesh gutter guards have a raised diamond design that easily pushes out large, flat debris, like leaves, that can cause clogging.
HomeCraft’s guard also has a powder-coated aluminum frame that fits almost any gutter size. The company adds an extra layer of stability by using hidden, reinforced metal hangers to attach its guards to your fascia boards.
Read more: HomeCraft Review
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if you don’t have gutters on your house?
Not having gutters on your house can lead to foundation settlement, mold development, mildew, and damage to your home’s siding.
Do gutters increase home value?
Gutters typically don’t increase a home’s value unless they’re a luxury product, like copper gutters. However, gutter guards with a transferable lifetime warranty can increase your home’s value by adding assurance for new homeowners.
Are downspouts necessary?
Yes, downspouts are necessary. They’re a crucial part of your gutter system, helping rainwater enter your drainage system and preventing any corrosion issues.
Should I get five-inch or six-inch gutters?
We recommend six-inch gutters because they have better drainage and are less likely to get clogged. However, if your home is smaller, you may need to opt for five-inch gutters.
How We Chose the Top Gutter Guard Providers
We researched and analyzed dozens of gutter guards and gutter guard companies to create an in-depth review methodology. We formulated a rating system based on the factors homeowners find most important. We evaluated each provider’s gutter guard design and aesthetics, service offerings, customer service and communication, quote process, warranties, and financing options.
We created a separate rating system for DIY-installed gutter guards sold on retailer sites. We evaluated these guards based on their quality of materials, aesthetics, communication, warranty, customer reviews, and cost.
We evaluated each provider’s reputation using independent, third-party sites such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Google My Business pages. For products, we analyzed the customer reviews on whichever online retailer primarily hosts the product.